Blog Post Checklist

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1. Schedule Post Date & Time

It is almost always a good idea to set a scheduled publishing date and time for any post. One reason being that you will have a bit of extra time to look it over or think about it before it goes live. The other reason being that some days of the week and times of the day are better to post because more people will see them. For example, you may not want to publish a post immediately after you finish writing it at midnight (depending on where you are in the world relative to your main readers).

2. Take Time to Craft and Edit Your Headline

The headline is the most important text on the page. It is what pulls people into the page. The difference between a good headline and a bad one is the difference between having more readers or not so it is very important to write one that is compelling and interesting.

For extra SEO points: Try to include keywords in your headlines because higher placed, prominent content receives a bit more weight in terms of SEO. Keep it relevant to the post though.

3. Draft & Edit the Post

Your post should never be done on the first draft so try not to worry about it too much. Take your time and write a solid structure first, then read it over and edit where needed. It is important to keep readers engaged so keep the content on subject. It is also a good idea to break up the paragraphs and add different styling (headers, lists, bolded text, etc.) to make the content easier to read. Most people just skim after all so make the most important content stand out.

For extra SEO points: Make sure that you have a good amount of keywords high up on the page and scattered throughout, but try to keep it natural. Keyword stuffing can get you penalized.

4. Add Images and Videos

Once your post is written and edited, consider finding relevant images and adding them. It is a great way to split up the content, make it more interesting, and help communicate your message. You may have your own images, but if you intend on finding images online, be sure you know the usage rights. Not everything on the web is free to redistribute. There are some resources to find license free images if you need help.

For extra SEO points: Make sure that your images have good alt tags with keywords you want to target.

5. Add Featured/Thumbnail Image

In many cases, the featured image is used as a thumbnail for the post, or at the top of the post. This makes it very important to find a very high quality, interesting, and relevant image because the main image plays a huge role on whether or not someone opens an article. It may be on your site, or if/when shared on social media. Also, as in step 4, licensing is important.

6. Link To Related Posts and Resources

Once you have written your post and read it over for editing issues, it is very important to read it over again and add links wherever possible. Linking to your own site helps people find more of your content and keeps readers engaged with your site. If you know of other sites that you can link to, go ahead and link to them as well. It helps your readers find more information, or you may grab the attention of another site owner that could link back to you. Just make sure that if you link to a site other than your own, you open that link in a new window so that you dont send people off your site entirely.

For extra SEO points: Adding links to your own pages and posts will help your SEO, and linking to other highly rated authorities may also.

7. Check Your URL

In most cases, you will have control over what the URL is of the post. Make sure that it is something you are happy with BEFORE you publish the post. You may be able to go back and change it later, but any links to the original URL will no longer work and you might lose some readers. You can always set up a 301 re-direct to send people to a new URL, but its much easier to get it right the first time.

For extra SEO points: Consider using keywords in the URL.

8. Add To Relevant Categories

Categories are a great way for people to find the content that they are really interested in, and it helps organize your posts into hierarchical order. By adding posts to different categories, you will help the reader and yourself to stay organized.

For extra SEO points: Because categories are used to separate content, most site should have an archive page for all categories. This page adds many links to all the posts within the category, which in turn helps SEO.

9. Add Relevant Tags

Tags are another way to organize your posts, but they are not hierarchical by nature. While categories are great for organizing groups of posts into separate sections, tags are more for pointing out things that are in the one specific post. They are another tool used to help people find the content they want.

For extra SEO points: Tags are a lot like categories for SEO purposes as well. They are used to help organize content and therefore should have their own archive page.

10. Do a Final Read Through

Once everything has been taken care of and the post is ready to go, make sure you check out the preview of what it will look like live. This is a chance to read through and make sure that you didnt miss anything as well as review how the style looks. It’s hard for anyone to get any post right the first time, and it’s hard to catch the mistakes on the second time. You may even want to get someone else to give it a once over.